National Express responds to Stagecoach DWS offer

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The National Express Board has delivered a response to DWS Infrastructure’s offer for Stagecoach, and believes its own combination offer provides a number of advantages for shareholders over the DWS offer

The Board of National Express Group has issued a response to the announcement by Inframobility UK Bidco Limited (DWS) of its cash offer for Stagecoach Group, at a price of 105p per Stagecoach share. The National Express Board said it believes the proposed National Express-Stagecoach merger provides Stagecoach shareholders with the opportunity to participate fully in the future of the industry and the that the combined group had the potential for ‘compelling growth and value creation.’ National Express said it believes its offer represents a superior value creation opportunity when compared to the DWS offer.

The National Express Board reiterated its belief that the all-share combination with Stagecoach would provide a ‘compelling strategic opportunity’ to deliver significant operational efficiencies across the combined UK networks, including National Express using Stagecoach’s depot network to run and maintain its coach operations. It would also facilitate an acceleration of the expansion of National Express’ growth businesses across the UK, such as commuter, shuttle, private hire coach and accessible transport, gain using Stagecoach’s footprint as a springboard, as well as deliver other growth and revenue synergies.

In addition, the National Express Board said that there was an expectation that the merger would not result in any job losses in front-line operational roles or depot closures given the minimal direct operational overlap of the two businesses.
National Express said: “In a period that has seen a surge of private equity firms acquiring British companies, the combination represents a rare example of two UK listed companies combining to form a global leader in their industry.” The statement from the Board of National Express ends by encouraging Stagecoach shareholders to take no action in relation to the DWS offer.

The combined Stagecoach and National Express group would have continued using the separate brands. RICHARD SHARMAN